This is a chapter in The Second Life of Brian Series, click here to read the rest of his story.
Brian was thankful for the open phone directory sitting in his lap.
It was the only thing keeping his body from jumping straight out of the car, forward rolling off the road, then swiftly running in the opposite direction of the street the car was headed towards.
Scott had tried to initiate some small talk but in return for his efforts Brian gave him nothing but grunts and glazed eyes.
“Turn left down Maple” Brian instructed robotically.
Scott had wanted to use the GPS directions on his phone, but Brian had insisted of using the phone book. It was an excuse to avoid a conversation with Scott. Another one of Brian’s inbuilt defence mechanisms, that rarely brought him any joy.
If he didn’t talk to Scott then the conversation would never get to the level of ”feelings”. If he didn’t talk about his feelings, then Brian would not allow himself to become, or be seen as, vulnerable. Being vulnerable is not something Brian liked to be.
Before Brian had been sent to see Neil, and after Sarah had left, Brian had entrusted his vulnerability to a school counsellor.
She was a young woman. Her name was Miss Proctor.
Miss Proctor was young. Miss Proctor, or Natalie as Brian would soon find out, was beautiful.
Her beauty was not the beauty of Sarah, warm and kind and soulful, her beauty was cool and classic and overpowering.
Natalie Proctor was 22 years old, her creamy skin was unblemished. Her finger nails were perfectly shaped and always polished, blood-red. Her eyes were deep, earthy, dark brown. Natalie wore her sleek blonde hair in a bob, just below the level of her chin. She flipped her hair as a matter of course, undoubtedly aware of the effect this had on every man, student and teacher, in her company.
There were whispers around the teachers lounges that Natalie had only received the job due to nepotism. The Principal of the school being her uncle. She was, however, well liked by the faculty and by the students, particularly the male students.
Brian met Miss Proctor three weeks after Sarah’s sudden departure. After drilling a classmates backpack to the wall of his manual arts classroom and then, so the school gossips said, threatening to add the backpacks owner to the wall decorations also.
Credit to the gossips on this occasion, they were right. Brian had been bullied mercilessly by the student, and had snapped.
Since it was a first offence Brian had been given detention instead of automatic suspension. During his twice weekly detentions he was to be counselled by Miss Proctor.
As soon as she shook his hand Brian was transfixed by her beauty and sophistication.
He poured out his soul to her, and she listened. She smiled sympathetically and even cried with him more than once. Brian trusted Natalie. Brian adored Natalie. Brian thought about Natalie instead of thinking about Sarah. She was the perfect distraction.
As their sessions progressed Natalie opened up to Brian about her own life which seemed equally as convoluted as his own. Brian loved that she trusted him so deeply, that they had so much in common. When she would take his hand as she shared her wisdom, he felt his heart race and his hand tingle with excitement.
One day, on just such an occasion, she did more than take his hand. Natalie placed her hand on Brian’s thigh and told him to kiss her.
As the Under 16′s soccer team warmed up in the school field, no more than thirty metres away Brian had his first kiss. Her lips, he remembered, tasted better than strawberries. She let him learn his way around a French Kiss for ten minutes before abruptly pushing him away. She said she was ashamed of herself, he needed to leave.
Brian did as he was told and, with much confusion, spent the next two days wondering if he ought to go to his next scheduled “detention”. It was a Thursday morning when he passed a very formal Miss Proctor in the hall. She told him that she expected him to be in her office at the regular time.
That afternoon he knocked on her door with apprehension tying knots in his stomach.
“Come in Brain” she called through the door.
Brian slowly opened, and peered around the side of, the door. He noticed that she had a blank expression on her face and he felt his heart plummet. He closed the door behind him and quickly took a seat on the opposite side of the desk to where she was sitting. To his surprise, she moved around to his side of the desk and took a seat next to him.
“Brian what do you think about me?” she asked as if she really wanted to know.
“I think you’re beautiful. I think you understand me. And I think I understand you.”
“You do, don’t you? I can see it in your eyes. Do you care about me?”
“Do you think about me sometimes? I mean when you are alone? Do you think of us . . . together?”
Brian was blushing profusely. He thought about her, whenever he closed his eyes he thought about her. Imagined her. Imagined them, together.
Brian looked at his feet, “Yes.”
“I do too.” Natalie stood up in front of Brian and took his hands for him to stand up also. She guided his hands up the inside of her dress so that he could pull her panties down, over her thighs to the floor.
Brian lost his virginity on the floor, under the desk in her office. The afternoon sunlight streaming in through the rectangular windows high up on the wall, Brian explored her body, she explored his. He felt amazing and empty at the same time. Natalie’s body was smooth and shapely and she knew just what to do. It was exactly how he had hoped it would be and at the same time nothing like it. He had thought that he loved her, but as soon as their bodies gave way to the ecstasy of the moment he knew he was wrong. He knew that this was not the way that he wanted these things to happen.
That afternoon he left more confused than when he arrived. He knew that he had done the wrong thing. He had used Natalie, in the worst way he could think, and yet he could not get her out of his mind. And whenever he saw her he saw Sarah’s face, and wondered what she would think about the whole situation.
Brian spent the weekend imagining a hundred different versions of the same speech. How he would say goodbye to Miss Natalie Proctor.
When Monday afternoon rolled around he knocked on her office door again and found that the door was slightly ajar already. He pushed the door open to find not only Miss Proctor but also her uncle, the Principal.
“I hear you have developed quite the crush on Miss Proctor, Brian?”, Brian didn’t know where to look or what to do, he opened his mouth to respond but nothing came out, so the Principal continued, “Well that’s quite enough.”
“I don’t know – ” Brain stammered.
“I’m sure you think it’s alright for you to say whatever you like to her, but I can tell you it’s not on. She is soon to be a married woman and the last thing she needs is a piece of scum like you saying suggestive things to her, trying to force yourself on her. I won’t stand for it. You hear?”
Brian couldn’t help it, he started crying. He looked up towards Natalie and just before she covered her face with an expression of stone and cold, he thought he saw an apology of sorts. “I’m sorry, sir. I’m sorry Miss Proctor. I didn’t mean to . . . I mean I didn’t think that – “
“You’re damn right you didn’t think. You’re out of here, for three weeks. And if I ever see you so much as look in the direction of my Natalie again, I swear, I’ll do more than expel you. You hear me?”
“Yes sir. I understand, sir.”
“Good. This stays between us. You don’t want to know what I’ll do if I hear you mouthing off about this to anyone. Now get out.”
Brian left that day in a daze, he thought he could hear the Principal yelling something, but he wasn’t sure, and he certainly wasn’t going to stop to find out. He felt relief in a way, relief that the dirty work was done for him but deeper than the relief was a sense of betrayal.
He had trusted her and what exactly had she told, of all people, her uncle? He obviously didn’t know the exact details of their time together. Did she tell him about Brian and his life? She knew all of his secrets, and instead of treating them as precious, like he believed she would, she had handed them over. For what?
For what? Brian asked himself the question again as he counted the numbers on the letter boxes of the houses on Sarah’s street.